Federal antidiscrimination laws are statutes that prohibit discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability. These laws apply in a variety of scenarios such as employment, housing, education and public accommodations.
It is important to understand that federal antidiscrimination laws provide vital safeguards against discrimination and ensure that all are treated fairly and equally. More importantly, they help ensure that individuals are not discriminated against or harassed because of who they are or where they come from. If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, you may be able to file a complaint with the appropriate federal agency and/or file a workplace discrimination lawsuit.
Major Federal Laws That Prohibit Workplace Discrimination
Here are some of the main federal laws that outlaw discrimination in the workplace:
Title VII of the Civil rights Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employers from discriminating against employees as well as job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee or job applicant who asserts his or her rights under the law. Employers are prohibited from such discrimination in all areas from hiring and firing to compensation, benefits, job assignments, promotions and training opportunities.
Title VII also outlaws harassment on the basis of an employee's protected characteristic. This law applied to private employers with at least 15 employees, state and federal government agencies and labor organizations.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act essentially amended Title VII to outlaw discrimination against an employee or job applicant based on pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition such as miscarriage or termination of a pregnancy. Employers who are covered by Title VII are also covered under this law.
Employers are prohibited under this law to discriminate against pregnant employees such as requiring them to take leave when they are still able to do their jobs and making assumptions about their ability to work after they have given birth. Employers must treat pregnant employees just as they would other employers who are unable to work temporarily due to a health issue or disability.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act or ADEA prohibits discrimination on the basis of age against workers who are at least 40 years old. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee or applicant for asserting their rights under the ADEA. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against older employees in all aspects of employment. The Older Workers Benefits Protection Act protects workers over the age of 40 from discrimination in benefits. This federal anti-discrimination law applies to private employers with at least 20 employees in addition to state and federal agencies and labor unions.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA prohibits employees from discriminating against those with disabilities in all aspects of employment. In addition to safeguarding the rights of those with disabilities, this law also protects those with a history of disability and those who are incorrectly perceived as having a disability.
This law also requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to those with disabilities – which refers to any change to the application, hiring process, work environment or performance of the job that allows the person to perform the essential functions of the job. Accommodations are considered reasonable if they don't create an undue hardship or direct threat to the employer.
Equal Pay Act
This federal law requires employers to give men and women equal pay for equal work done. This means employees are performing their job under similar working conditions, jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility. The exception to this law is when there is difference between men and women doing equal work based on seniority, merit or other factors not related to gender. All employers regardless of their size are required to comply with the Equal Pay Act.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits discrimination based on applicants' and employees' citizenship or national origin. IRCA also makes it illegal for employers to deliberately or intentionally hire or retain employees who do not have authorization to work in the United States. Employers are required under the law to examine employee documents and keep records that show employees are authorized to work in the United States.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 bars employers from using an employee's or applicant's genetic information as the basis for employment decisions. This law also requires employers to keep employees' genetic information confidential. Employers are also prohibited from mandating employees to provide genetic information.
Asserting Your Rights
If you believe that your rights are being violated under state and/or federal anti-discrimination laws, it is important that you contact an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. The experienced Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay any fees unless we secure compensation for you. Call us to schedule a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.